Plans To Move Bermuda Passport Printing To UK

September 18, 2013

Following the UK’s decision to move the printing of Overseas Territories passports to the UK, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said the Government plans to assume a leadership role to find solution for Bermuda and the other Territories , which ideally means retaining the ability to print Bermuda passports on the island.

Citing a new passport design with improved security measures, the UK Government plans to transfer the printing of British Overseas Territory Citizen [BOTC] passports to the UK, effective December 2014.

Affected territories include: Anguilla, Ascension Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena Islands, Tristan da Cunha, and Turks & Caicos Islands.

Under the proposed programme, the responsibility for the application process will remain with the islands, but the passport printing will take place in the UK.

Speaking today [Sept 18] in the Senate, Minister Fahy pointed out that Bermudians sometimes travel abroad for emergency medical attention, which can happen at short notice.

He noted that the Department of Immigration can currently produce passports for medical emergencies within one business day, and  moving passport printing to the UK will “result in serious implications for Bermuda” as it relates to emergency medical travel.

Minister Fahy said, “Given the implications of the planned change, the Bermuda Government has taken the decision to place this matter on the BOTC agenda and to assume a leadership role in arriving at a solution that is in the best interest of Bermuda and all other BOTCs. Ideally, this would mean retaining the ability to print Bermuda passports in Bermuda.

Minister Fahy’s full statement follows below:

Madam President, the purpose of this statement today is to advise Senate colleagues of plans by the UK Government to transfer the printing of British Overseas Territory Citizen [BOTC] passports to the United Kingdom.

In October 2010 the UK Government, via the Identity and Passport Service [IPS], introduced a new UK passport design with improved security measures for British Citizens. Phase one of the implementation of the new design affected UK citizens only.

To this end, future plans include the centralization of the printing of passports for British Overseas Territory Citizens. Essentially, the plan is that BOTC passports will be printed in the UK and not within each jurisdiction as is currently the case.

Affected territories include: Anguilla, Ascension Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena Islands, Tristan da Cunha, and Turks & Caicos Islands.

Madam President, as this is a complex issue with many factors, the Overseas Territories Consultancy Council mandated that a programme be initiated to scope, develop, agree, and implement a robust solution to transition the BOTC passport issuing arrangements in the BOTs to the new UK passport design.

In early 2011, a working group was set up to discuss and devise a plan for a new service of repatriating the printing of BOTC passports. Representing officers, consisting of senior officials in Overseas Territory Governments and members of Governors’ offices, were identified by each territory.

As the processing of BOTC passports in Bermuda comes under the remit of the Department of Immigration, the Chief Immigration Officer, the Assistant Chief Immigration Officer and the Personal Services Manager represent Bermuda on the working group.

The Executive Officer of Government House is also on the team.

Due to geographical challenges, the working group does not meet face-to-face but rather have been working through this issue via scheduled monthly and/or quarterly teleconferences.

Madam President, on average, the Department of Immigration issues 7,000 BOTC passports [adults and children] per year. Under the proposed programme, the responsibility for the application process will remain with the BOTs but the passport personalization, printing and dispatch will take place centrally in the UK.

Establishing this end to end solution means that the Department of Immigration [along with all other BOTs] must replace its current application processing system with a solution that fully supports the application approval process and which links securely to the IPS production system in the UK.

It is understood that Bermudians travel for any number of reasons. Commensurate with frequent travel activity, one of the reasons Bermudians travel abroad is for medical attention and the requirement can be at short notice, on an urgent basis. To this end, a primary concern shared amongst the BOTs is how emergency documents would be produced.

While the Department of Immigration does not issue Emergency Travel Documents [ETD], it currently has the ability to produce passports for bona fide medical emergencies within one [1] business day. The repatriating of BOTC passports back to the UK will result in serious implications for Bermuda; particularly as it relates to emergency medical travel.

Madam President, a roll-out date for the repatriation of passport production and printing to the UK has been set for December 2014.

Notwithstanding, the working group has put forward several proposals that would see the BOTs retain passport printing or at minimum, retain the ability to provide for bona fide emergencies.

Given the implications of the planned change, the Bermuda Government has taken the decision to place this matter on the BOTC agenda and to assume a leadership role in arriving at a solution that is in the best interest of Bermuda and all other BOTCs. Ideally, this would mean retaining the ability to print Bermuda passports in Bermuda.

As we move forward, I will endeavour to keep Senate colleagues and the general public updated on this issue.

Thank you Madam President.


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Comments (32)

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  1. frank says:

    well the premier and the minister only need to jump on a plane and get this sorted out I am sure that printing can be done in Bermuda one more example how England wan

    • Forget the thought! says:

      The UK government is trying to make extra money off the passports and nothing more. It’s always about the money.

      It’s not even a surprise look how many Bermudians are living over there for free. Free to the Bermudian but the UK is still fronting the welfare check. This is one way for their Government to receive the funds back.

  2. Terry says:

    Whats all the fuss about.
    They could be made/printed/bound in Russia.
    B*t*h moan.

  3. Once upon a time says:

    Once upon a time, the Bermuda government issued a form called “equivalent to a passport” that was valid for international travel but no more. That meant that, on extremely short notice, an individual could obtain emergency travel documents. That actually meant that an infant who hadn’t even obtained a birth certificate could, if need be, receive such a document – it was good for a very short period of time (I think 30 days) but it served the purpose.

  4. Mazumbo says:

    Bermuda for Independence !!!!!!!!!!

    • Hair says:


    • Mike Hind says:


    • Logic76 says:

      That’s when the s*** will hit the fan!

    • Tommy Chong says:

      How will we be able to afford the creation of consulates & the workers in them in all the countries that UK already has them in if we went independent. Even if we could afford the consulates it would still take loads if meetings & agreements from those meetings in order to gain acceptance of travel to those countries. I guarantee even our neighbours in the USA will not grant us access so easily if we broke ties with their UK buddies. What we might be able to do is become the next puerto rico but then we still really wouldn’t be independent & I don’t know about you but I would much rather be part of the non evasive UK than the Unincorporated territory of modern day conquistadors.

  5. Randy Pitcher says:

    If you think you can board British Airways, head to London, and then, for example, to Hungary and spend a few days visiting via a Bermuda Pass Port, think again! The Bermuda passport is not an acceptable travel document, unless a visa is obtained before hand to each and every E.U. Country. The Bermuda PP and the Bermuda $ have a lot in common, both useless out side Bermuda as far as the E.U. is concerned. Imagine how useful an independent Bermuda passport will be.

    • Johnny says:

      Who wants to go to Hungary? You must be living in luxury if you can just board a plane to England and go spend a few days visiting in Hungary. For most of us that would require planning and saving and we would have more than enough time to apply for a visa.

    • Andrew says:

      Randy, my guess is that you have not travelled to Hungary recently? There is a single common Euro visa allowing unrestricted travel between 26 Europeam states. Take a look at the Schengen visa.

      Regarding the BDA passport, it is as good as a US passport almost everywhere outside the US (and on another note, almost as good as a US passport when traveling into the US!).

      Given the status quo, the actual reality is that all Bermuda citizens are entitled to both an EU and a BDA passport-given the ability to travel to both the EU and the US without visa, perhaps the most ideal situation of any citizen internationally (unless you want to start paying US income tax).

      • Tommy Chong says:

        Schengen visa are a pain & pricey to get & can be confusing with EU customs officers who don’t come in contact with BDA passports. A Schengen visa can cause travel delays with BDA passports which I have experienced because some customs see a UK looking passport & until they finger through their rule books to find out why & if they should take precaution you will sit & wait. Customs are used to seeing Schengen visas from problem countries & if you read the rules of this visa it states you must go to the immigration police in every Schengen country you enter & announce your arrival. Even though most countries customs will waiver the immigration police bit once they find out what a Bermudian Passport is so its better to get a UK passport to avoid the hassle. Note that even though some Schengen visa area customs officers may mistake a BDA passport for a UK one its not worth the risk because an officer that is on point will send you straight back to England at your own expense no if, &s or buts.

      • Andrew,

        I’m travelling in Hungary right now and can assure you that it isn’t a simple process on a BOTC passport.

        The BOTC passport cannot get you into and out of many places wihtout significant issue, I know as I’ve tried and run into considerable trouble with it. You are better off having a British passport which is your right if you’re a Bermudian and keep the Bermudian one simply for ease of entry to the US.

        Due to an omission of BOTC’s from a 2006 provision to the Schengen agreement, BOTC passport holders require a Schengen visa in order to enter the EU (aside from the UK, France and Norway, which don’t require it).

        See here, which specifically lists Bermudian BOTCs as requiring a visa:

        In order to obtain a Schengen Visa a Bermudian would have to either fly to NY to submit the application to the Hungarian consulate in person and wait up to 2 weeks for it to be approved. Otherwise, one may be able to obtain permission from the consulate to submit the application via a lawyer who can notarize it, though this is considered an exception for special circumstances. Subsequently, it may be required to go in for an in person interview and the application can only be made 3 months prior to the intended date of travel and proof of travel need be supplied.

        See the documentation from the Hungarian foreign affairs department:

        If you look at the visa free list for Schengen you’ll note that it’s quite extensive. Countries not considered visa free and subsequent applications are usually those placed under heavy scrutiny because each member state of the EU is expected to maintain a border for effectively all of the EU.

        Subsequently this “emergency passport” printing issue seems to be nonsense. All Bermuda should be able to do is print the BOTC equivalent of a British emergency passport ( and negotiate with the US and Canada to allow it to be used for emergency entry for medical purposes. British Consulates can already issue such passports for emergency repatriation to the UK in the event you’ve lost your passport.

        • Andrew says:


          Are you travelling on a Bermuda passport now? If so, it’s kinda your own fault for not getting a UK passport. That is my point: we have the luxury of easy visa-free travel to most of the Western world.

    • Island Girl says:

      Right on, Randy, as many Bermudians have found out to their chagrin! Who, with even half a brain, would want to complicate things further?

  6. Mazumbo says:

    There is always a price to pay for change, and we want to say PROUD TO BE BERMUDIAN hanging on to de coat tail of Britain and their tryin to kick us off. LMAO

    • Tommy Chong says:

      They aren’t trying to push us away they are trying to make their borders secure by creating a more secure passport. We should be trying to do the same since there are people in this world that can whip up a fake passport in a day. Ever since they decided to be war buddies with America they’ve become the enemies of America’s enemies & after many years of IRA conflict know this is not to be taken lightly.

  7. Just a thought says:

    Minister Fahy, instead of focusing on the negatives of the BRITISH Overseas Territories Citizenship passport printing moving to the UK, why not try negotiating with the US and Canada (the only 2 real viable emergency medical countries where we would travel) for an acceptable alternative emergency travel document they would accept and allow the rest of the passport applications to be processed centrally in the UK?

    • Tommy Chong says:

      Why negotiate with US when they are already good with our passports & are fine with allowing those with expired passports in on special circumstances. We have to go through American customs in Bermuda so if you really have a legit excuse for travel necessity all you need to do is contact the embassy here. They even let people on their criminal convictions list through for medical emergencies & will even let people stay in their country for extended months even years if therapy is needed. America already knows what a significant impact our medical tourism has on their economy. When you stay in some of the accommodations set aside for medical tourist you soon realise how full these places are with Bermudians. As for Canada I’m not sure there is any doctor hear that will send their patient that way.

      The one thing I do think the minister should discuss with America & Canada is allowing more ease of travel of Bermudian spouses from countries with visa requirements. Its not only difficult for spouses to get visas to visit America but also just to use America as a gateway to get to their home country making them feel like a prisoner in Bermuda. I know America & Canada are trying to protect their country from illegal immigrants but I don’t see why someone with documents proving marriage should have such a hard time to be allowed to visit their family. This just seems like discrimination to me & our governments failure to work something out for Bermudian spouses is not very welcoming.

      • Wrong! says:

        You can’t travel on a expired passport anymore that died 3 years ago!

        After being married a Bermudian and living in Bermy for 1 year the Embassy here in most cases grants a US visa. If that doesn’t take place it’s because your spouse has some form of bad history.


  8. Beam me up Sparky says:

    What’s the big deal ? Just keep your passport up to date then you can travel at short notice or whenever you want to ! You can renew it well before it expires, much ado about nothing.

  9. Prayerful says:

    Good suggestion from “Just a Thought”

  10. Who that cap fit says:

    I like my British passport,it enables me to go almost anywhere,I hope it stays like that!

  11. Marge says:

    having a british passport may suggest we may have to pay british taxes eventually.

  12. Confused..... says:

    Essentially what is being said is that a local business will/should be created to print and supply the passports. OR provisions for a current printer to be awarded a contract to print them. Now we are talking specialized security paper, specialized inks, security provisions for ALL supplies, vetting for ALL employees etc. who in their right mind will pay for this type of equipment and provisions? Especially when the contract could be lost if the government changes. It certainly cannot be printed on some HP office printer. The reason for the bus tickets being vendor-ed overseas was because a local was selling tickets (after printing) on the side. This is the most important factor. Security of supplies, and the cost for securing them. The inks, paper, the designs, etc. Just saying…..